Long Road Ahead for Housing Recovery

The housing market still has a long way to go, at least according to Americans.

The vast majority of Americans (85%) believe the housing market will not recover until at least 2012, and nearly a quarter believe it will take until 2015 or longer, according to a new survey from Trulia and RealtyTrac, two leading real estate websites.

“More and more, American homeowners, -sellers and -buyers are tamping down their expectations for a swift recovery in the housing market and bracing themselves for a long, slow climb back to a healthy real estate market,” said Pete Flint, cofounder and CEO of Trulia, in a press release.  “Government incentives have come and gone and historic lows in interest rates have done little to spur recovery.”

The public’s concerns about the fate of the housing market have also been ramped up by the recent robo-signing controversy, in which several major banks improperly processed foreclosed properties. The study found that more than a third of Americans believe this will further delay the housing market’s recovery.

To some extent, the public’s fears match up well with many economists’ projections for the housing market.

Some estimate that there may be 10 million or more homes foreclosed on by 2012, which need to be processed and sold off before the housing market can be considered healthy again. This, combined with the unstable job market, has led analysts to predict that the housing market won’t actually hit bottom until 2014.

Armed with the belief that there may be no end in sight for the housing market’s troubles, Americans seem to be changing their attitudes toward home ownership.

The survey, which is based on interviews with more than 2,000 adults in the U.S., found that nearly half of all homeowners (48%) would at least consider walking away from their mortgage if their home was underwater, an increase of 7% from six months prior when these websites released a similar survey.

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